ZURICH: Female players have dropped their bid to sue FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association over the use of artificial turf at the Women’s World Cup which kicks off on June 6.

The world football federation had insisted that the pitches to be used were of the highest standard and made practical sense because of likely climatic conditions.

But secretary-general Jerome Valcke did clarify that  “we have personally engaged with players and technical staff from the qualified teams to address their concerns and doubts.”

The players’ lawyer, Hampton Dellinger, who had given his services pro bono, said the case had collapsed because the football authorities had resorted to delaying tactics and threats of suspensions – the latter always denied by FIFA.

Dellinger said: “In the face of such irresponsible actions the players have elected to end their legal fight. They are doing what FIFA and CSA have proven incapable of, putting the sport of soccer first.”

Both FIFA and the CSA had long acknowledged issues to be resolved over the pitch at Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium, which will host the final on July 5.

Dellinger, seeking to claim a moral victory, said: “The players’ united, international effort to protest discrimination has had a positive impact.

“The deplorable artificial surface at B.C. Place, the site of the final, will be replaced . . . and we know that the 2019 World Cup will be held on grass. Moreover, the players and their supporters have highlighted continuing gender inequity in sports and lessened the chance that such wrongdoing will occur in the future.”

Valcke, looking forward in his own statement, added: “What was very clear from the meetings with the players was their desire and enthusiasm about making this the greatest FIFA Women’s World Cup ever, and to ensure that they have the best possible conditions to perform well.

“This is a goal they share with FIFA and we are totally committed to providing the best possible surface to enable everyone to enjoy a great footballing spectacle.”